It’s not something I had ever tasted before.
You are probably familiar with Beaujolais Nouveau, made with the Gamay grape. It creates a celebration on the 3rd Thursday in November on Beaujolais Day, as the first wine released in France after harvest.
This is a wine made with carbonic maceration. Bunches of fruit are placed in a carbon dioxide-filled tank and sealed in to ferment. Typically when you ferment grapes, they are crushed or, at the very least, the weight of grapes on grapes, smush the grapes on the bottom, this juice and the yeast on the outside of the skins get going, and fermentation begins.
With Carbonic maceration, the grapes ferment inside their own skins. With little oxygen, you have created an anaerobic environment. Here the grapes release enzymes that start the fermentation inside the berries. CO2 is a by-product of fermentation, so the CO2 in the tank just keeps building. When the alcohol level reaches around 2%, the berries will finally burst. From here, a winemaker will typically press the fruit and then continue fermentation, potentially adding yeast. We continue until, as usual, the wine is dry.
Here’s what’s different. The carbonic maceration process creates wines that are lower in tannin and lighter in color. This is to be expected when a portion of the fermentation does not involve the skin where the tannins and anthocyanins for color live.
The acidity is lower because this type of fermentation converts the malic acid (malolactic fermentation), which also gives the wine a softer mouthfeel.
This fermentation style creates esters (chemical compounds) that can develop aromas and flavors of cinnamon, banana, and bubblegum.
Other grapes are sometimes used with this technique, but none are as well known as Gamay from the Beaujolais region of France.
Domaine Bousquet Gaia Nouveau Malbec 2022
At a recent tasting with Domaine Bousquet from Argentina, we tasted their Gaia limited edition Malbec Nouveau. This was intriguing. I had never tasted a Malbec made in this way.
It is 100% Organic Grapes from their vineyard located at the foot of the Andes. The vineyards in Alto Gualtallary in the Uco Valley sit at 4,000 feet in elevation.
I should mention that Domaine Bousquet has been certified organic since its founding in 1997. They are also a BCorp and, in 2022, became Regenerative Organic Certified.
I should also mention that I received this wine as a sample. No other compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.
I only sipped this wine and took a few quick notes during the tasting. (I corovined it!) I was anxious to get back in for a more in-depth tasting and to try pairing it with a dish! The winery suggestion was to enjoy it as an aperitif. Well, I decided to try something more.
I took some of the notes I found on this wine and filled them out. The wine was lighter in body than a typical Malbec and more fruit-forward. It had candied tones, notes of raspberry and cherry, floral and herbal notes like thyme and tarragon, and a bit of spice.
Some details. This is 100% Malbec, 14.5% abv with 0.93 g/L rs. It retails for around $20.
What to pair?
I settled on lightly seared ahi tuna in a spice rub of coriander (that floral note), paprika, clove, allspice, and black pepper.
We did roasted golden beets, which tied in with the candied fruit notes and gave an earthiness that the wine played off nicely.
To bring the entire dish together, I did a berry gastrique with raspberry, cherry, strawberry, blood orange black tea, dried hibiscus, and balsamic vinegar. I’m including the recipe for the gastrique below.
The dish was delicious with the wine. The wine, well, I kept saying how “purple” it tasted. It was joyful and bright and purple in a really wonderful way.
Another detail on this wine…the beautiful label with the sketch of the Earth Goddess Gaia glows in the dark. Just another level of fun with this wine.
This berry, balsamic, tea, and hibiscus gastrique is perfect for a sauce and works well as a base for salad dressings. It was particularly delicious with this spice-seared ahi tuna and a Malbec Nouveau from Domaine Bousquet's Gaia label in Argentina.
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 shallot (finely chopped)
- 2 cups fruit (cherry, raspberry, strawberry)
- 3 tbsp balsamic
- 3 tbs wine
- 1 tsp tea (I used black tea with dried blood orange)
- 3 dried hibiscus blossoms
- 3 tbsp honey
- Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the shallot and cook until softened.
- Add the fruit, balsamic, wine, tea, hibiscus and honey. Stir and cook for 30 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove the tea, hibiscus, and seeds.
- Use this as a sauce with seared ahi tuna, as we did, or anywhere that a savory berry sauce is needed.
Serving Size1 tbsp
Amount Per Serving Calories 35Total Fat 1gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 3mgSodium 10mgCarbohydrates 6gFiber 0gSugar 5gProtein 0g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
More on Argentina and Domaine Bousquet from Crushed Grape Chronicles
- More than Malbec, more than Organic – Argentina’s Domaine Bousquet
- Day 10 Argentina Finca Flichman Paisaje de Tupungato Malbec blend
- Canned wines from Argentina – Convenience and flavor for a backyard picnic #WinePW
- Argentinian Malbec to celebrate World Malbec Day and Earth Day
- Getting Kind of Wild with Some Simple Backyard Grilling
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine and WSET 3 Certified. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.
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